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EdBoard: combating COVID-19 complacency

Staying vigilant is key if we want to overcome this pandemic once and for all! (credit: Stacey Cho/Art Editor ) Staying vigilant is key if we want to overcome this pandemic once and for all! (credit: Stacey Cho/Art Editor )
Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

India has just passed 200,000 deaths due to COVID-19. With many not officially recorded, the number should be much larger, and the second wave much more severe, than we think. While vaccination efforts are underway, the issue remains that governments have allowed many pandemic measures to lapse, and complacency has run rampant around the world.

Indeed, some reopening plans are contingent on “a sufficient vaccination supply and stable and low hospitalization numbers,” such as California’s plan to reopen its economy by June 15. These plans understand that the situation is fluid and that many variables will impact our ability to reopen and move beyond a pandemic lifestyle. However, many relaxed measures are not being taken conditionally, and it is these that are most concerning. It can be expected that many will immediately resume pre-pandemic behaviors, including traveling without masks or social distancing, once restrictions are lifted or even just loosened.

This complete lack of awareness and responsibility is baffling, but apparently a legitimate component of our society today. It is imperative that the public understands that resuming a transmission-friendly environment will rapidly increase COVID-19 cases and deaths, sparking another wave and forcing the immediate reinstitution of pandemic restrictions.

This would be at odds with all hopeful plans set forth by schools and governments alike, from reopening campuses to boosting the economy. It will be impossible for us to have in-person classes and normal housing if transmission rates are anywhere near the levels seen around summer 2020, to say nothing of the recent holiday season.

We urge everyone to remember that loosened restrictions do not mean the virus is gone. An inability to understand the severity of such a pandemic will only ruin what little vitality we have left and deem our previous efforts to have been in vain. For all of our sakes, stay cautious and consider the long-term effects of your actions. To that end, get vaccinated, continue to practice social distancing, wear masks, wash your hands frequently, and follow the recommendations of health professionals and organizations like the CDC. We are so close to the end, so let’s all do our part to make sure society can continue moving forward rather than backward.